Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier, where the USA Men's National Team clinched a World Cup berth with another Dos A Cero win over Mexico in Columbus, was another good night for ESPN.
The game equaled the highest rating for a World Cup Qualifier, drawing a 1.4 rating. Host city Columbus blew away the competition with a 5.1 rating as the top market while Miami, Buffalo, Dayton, and Washington DC rounded out the Top 5. Here's more from the ESPN announcement:
"Last night’s telecast of the 2-0 victory by the U.S. Men’s National Team over archrival Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, delivered an average U.S. household rating of 1.4, matching the previous record for FIFA World Cup rating on ESPN for Mexico vs. USA on March 26, 2013, at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, according to Nielsen Media.
The telecast was seen by an average audience of 2.243 million viewers (P2+) and 1.641 million television households.
The two USA-Mexico World Cup qualifying matches for Brazil 2014 have helped boost the average rating for the current round of qualifiers on ESPN television by 60 percent compared to the last series – a 0.8 US rating for eight matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying series vs. 0.5 rating for the 2010 qualifiers."
ESPN will be slightly disappointed that the total viewership fell just behind March's USA-Mexico game at the Azteca (2.38 million to 2.24 million) but it's still a very solid number. Given everything put into the rivalry match, I would have thought viewership would have surpassed the Azteca fixture. The game was even bigger on Univision than ESPN, with the USA-Mexico clash averaging 3.5 million viewers. Between ESPN and Univision, the total audience was over 5.5 million.
For the definitive piece inside ESPN soccer from Tuesday's USA-Mexico game, click here.